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Just as in western astrology,

Just as in western astrology, with Chinese astrology, people can fine-tune it as much as they would like, depending on their goal. For general interest, many people just take into account the year they were born, and the animal sign associated with it (the terrestial branch); in this case, the chart we provide is fine (see note at top of page about the Chinese lunisolar calendar vs. Gregorian). Others prefer to also consider other individual aspects, such as the 5 celestial stems and the Yin/Yang cycle at the time they were born. As you say, it can become complex. If one is interested in a full individual assessment, s/he might consider consulting a professional in Chinese astrology.